HANGZHOU: The men’s hockey team’s dream of clinching Asian Games gold was dashed when they missed out on the semifinals after being held to a 4-4 draw by hosts China at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Stadium tonight.
China remain unbeaten to emerge as Group B champions with 13 points and they will meet Japan in Wednesday’s semifinal.
Malaysia, who finished third with 10 points behind second-placed South Korea (12 points), will compete in the 5th-6th classification match against Pakistan on Friday.
World No 10 Malaysia began their Group B campaign in style, thrashing Thailand 9-0, Oman 11-1 and Indonesia 9-2, but question marks emerged when they were edged 4-3 by South Korea two days ago.
Taking to the field needing a win, Malaysia went on the offensive right from the start but it was China who drew first blood in the 13th minute through a penalty corner goal by Gao Jiesheng.
The Speedy Tigers hit back in the 18th minute to silence the 4,000-odd home fans through an Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal goal, also from a penalty corner.
But a minute later, world No 22 China restored their lead through a Chen Qijun setpiece before Ashran Hamsani made it 2-2 with a field goal in the 25th minute.
Malaysia led for the first time in the third quarter when they went 3-2 up through a penalty corner goal by Najmi Farizal Jazlan in the 35th minute but their joy was shortlived as China made it 3-3 through a Pan Dongquan penalty stroke just one minute later.
Amirul Hamizan Azhar put Malaysia 4-3 up in the 40th minute through a penalty corner setpiece but China again hit back to level the scores through Zhu Weijiang just three minutes later.
The Speedy Tigers had a great chance to seal victory when they were awarded a penalty corner just 40 seconds before the final whistle but they failed to find the target.